At this year’s NACBA, Reggie McNeal, who currently serves as the Missional Leadership Specialist for Leadership Network of Dallas, TX, said that, in many countries, Christianity is outpacing all other religions. He cited the example that India has grown from 2% of the population professing Christianity in 2002 to approximately 10%, today. In Dnesh D’Souza’s “What’s So Great About Christianity,” he writes at length of substantial increases in the growth of Christianity in Africa, China, and Korea. However, having served as denominational statistician for a major denomination, I have observed firsthand a different story in America.
With the growth of Christianity exploding in regions of the world where it’s presence was marginal or unheard of only a few decades ago, and while Christianity is waning in other parts of the world where it once thrived, what can we do to foster the growth of Christianity in all parts of the world?
Over the last few months, I’ve listened to people involved in ministry and read various publications that remind me once again that we must “be church” and not simply “do church.” Reggie McNeal said that church is a “who” not a “what”. As people become equipped to see life as a mission field, they respond with “I am the church” instead of thinking in terms of attending church. Henry Blackaby writes in his book “Experiencing God”, the church must be equipped for “joining God where He is at work in His redemptive mission in the world”.
How can we catch this wave that is spreading throughout so many other parts of the world?
McNeal suggests that because the movement that is taking place in the world does not fit the traditional scorecards we use in America to evaluate our churches, we need new methods to produce new scorecards. In addition to measuring our effectiveness within the church, we must now measure our effectiveness within a missional context (whether it be the local community or the world at large), and our success in raising up others to carry out the missional vision of the church.
How do we “be” church where we are today? The Kingdom is about life, not just about church. It is about life in the world, in addition to life in the church. How do we love God and love our neighbor? How do we bless the communities in which we live? How can we evaluate our effectiveness in carrying out the missional vision? Simply managing the affairs of the church is not enough. Reggie summed it up well when he said, “the church does not have a mission, but rather the mission has a church… the mission was before or, preceded the church.” Here at ACS Technologies, we desire to partner with you as you enable people to become missional strategists, right where they are planted.
My next blog will discuss the significant difference in the role of pastors/staff in this somewhat radical shift that is taking place.